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Best and Easiest PC Case for Elite System?

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May 4, 2008 4:22:32 AM

I'm trying to put together an elite system, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus recommendation for the best PC cases. Here are the base components I intend to use:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770
Motherboard: Asus Striker II Extreme 790i Ultra
Graphics: 2 x 8800 GTX Ultra (with the possibility adding a third later on)

What are the best PC cases, cooling systems, and PSU that will work with this setup? I care the most about ease-of-use: something that will be easy to setup right out of the box with minimum modifications needed.

Some of the cases and cooling systems used by Tom's System Builder Marathons seem unconventional and difficult to set up (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/system-builder-marathon,1797-5.html). Some people in the forums criticized the case and PSU by saying that "No one uses that case. Seriously."

In my research, it seems that following three cases are pretty respected:

Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 http://www.coolermaster.com/products/product.php?act=detail&tbcate=17&id=2584

Antec Nine Hundred
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15900

ThermalTake Armor
http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/chassis/fulltower/armor/va8003bws.asp


Will these cases work with the components that I've selected? Which one is the best and easiest to use? What sort of cooling systems and PSU should I use with the case?

Thanks in advance
May 4, 2008 4:40:23 AM

the Cosmos has terrible cooling wich will be a serious problem with 3 Ultras. Both the 900 and Armor are supposed to have excellent cooling and are spacious, its really just a matter of preferance from there.

So, either the Antec or the Thermatake.
May 4, 2008 5:04:08 AM

Of those three I would choose the Antec 900, because I dislike the looks and style of the Armor, but if you like the look then go for it.

As a Lian-Li fanboy, I would have a look at some Lian-Lis also, they are great to work with, removable motherboard tray, hard-drive bay, front panel and front 3.5" external drive bays. Makes setting up the system really easy.
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May 4, 2008 7:24:18 AM

Thanks for the responses. I'll probably go with the Antec Nine Hundred. I've heard a lot of good things about the case and never anything bad, so I can't go wrong.

So I guess my biggest question is what cooling system to use. The Antec 900 is a standard case, and the other motherboard and GPU components I've listed are also standard, so there's no doubt they'll be "compatabile" (and finding a PSU compatible with everything will be easy).

It seems the tricky part is finding a cooling system compatible with the case. The Tom's System Builder Marathon: High-End System uses an "unconventional" case (the Silverstone Temjin TJ09-BW) simply because it is "special in its ability to support our liquid cooling configuration, which is something no other unmodified case can do." http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/system-builder-marathon,1797-5.html

So maybe I should reframe my question: What is the best and easiest cooling system that will work the Antec Nine Hundred and my other components?

This will be my first system build, so I'm worried that I won't have the skill to do an elaborate set up, mod the cases, etc. But at the same time, I want really good cooling so I can overclock the system and really maximize performance.

Any ideas?
May 4, 2008 7:59:37 PM

Get a good air cooler like the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme for the Antec 900, don't worry about water cooling unless you really want it. As for power supply, the one linked to earlier is extreme overkill and would end up just being a waste of money, even though it is a quality power supply. I would look instead at a Corsair TX650, TX750 or PC Power and Cooling Silencer 610W or 750W. The 750W ones would be best if you think you will end up with 3x 8800Ultra, the 610/650W ones will be enough for 2x 8800Ultra.
May 4, 2008 9:21:02 PM

Gravemind123 said:
Get a good air cooler like the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme for the Antec 900, don't worry about water cooling unless you really want it. As for power supply, the one linked to earlier is extreme overkill and would end up just being a waste of money, even though it is a quality power supply. I would look instead at a Corsair TX650, TX750 or PC Power and Cooling Silencer 610W or 750W. The 750W ones would be best if you think you will end up with 3x 8800Ultra, the 610/650W ones will be enough for 2x 8800Ultra.


Thanks for the advice. About cooling systems: I assume that the main difference between air cooling and water cooling is how much it will allow you to overclock the system? If that's the case, wouldn't it make sense to get the most advanced cooling system to maximize performance? I already plan to splurge for the best components, so maybe it would make sense for me to get the best cooling system as well.

Does anyone know of an advanced liquid cooling system that will work with the Antec Nine Hundred and that is easy to install with no modifications needed?

I guess I can always go with the case and cooling system recommended by the System Builder Marathon. Reading it over again, it doesn't look too bad. They say that the cooling system they recommend, the Swiftech's H20-120 Compact kit, works really well and that it is compatible with the case they select, the Temjin T09 with no modifications needed. Here's their glowing praise:

"[W]e can't possibly overstress the value of a high-end case and cooling configuration for turning a run-of-the-mill performance system into a dream machine. To be quite honest, the liquid-cooled case of our previous high-end machine would have been more valuable as scrap metal - it is in no way comparable to the quality of Silverstone's Temjin TJ09, and the functionality of our custom-selected Swiftech liquid cooling kit."http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/system-builder-marathon,1797-15.html
May 5, 2008 2:21:46 AM

dallasjoh said:
Here is you a case with liquid cooling system built in. Since you plan to splurge for the best components then buy this case.
http://au.shopping.com/xPC-Thermaltake-Thermaltake-Xase...


Interesting recommendation, thanks! I don't know about that specific model, but I like the idea of buying a case that has liquid cooling system built in.

I went to the thermaltake website, and it seems that the Xaser VI doesn't have LCS built in. But two models do, the Kandalf LCS and the Armor LCS: http://thermaltakeusa.com/product/Liquid/lcs/lcs.asp

Any idea of which one is better, the Kandalf LCS or the Armor LCS? How about these products in general? Is it a good idea to buy a case with LCS built in? I don't mind paying a little more if it makes everything easier.
May 5, 2008 2:33:12 AM

Wait for the Antec 1200, it will be out shortly!
May 5, 2008 2:46:31 AM

yamagiru said:
Wait for the Antec 1200, it will be out shortly!


Is there a firm release date? I did some googling but most of it looked like forum speculation.

Also, can I get it with liquid cooling built in?
May 5, 2008 3:26:34 AM

If you are willing to splurge on a good liquid cooling system, then get the parts and put it together yourself, you will find that it is of better quality then the stuff built into cases. Get full-cover waterblocks for the 8800s from Danger-Den or similar, in fact, get a Danger-Den TDX CPU block also if you go water cooling. The Striker II has the built in water capabilities for the chipset, so that is taken care of. You'll need to choose a pump, reservoir, cooling solution, tubing and fillport on your own, but look at http://www.frozencpu.com for some parts for this. Pre-assembled water cooling kits tend not to work as well as doing a custom job yourself, and if you are splurging the money for the best stuff, take the time to read up on water cooling and do the best job you can with it to get the most out of your system.
May 5, 2008 3:35:04 AM

Gravemind123 said:
If you are willing to splurge on a good liquid cooling system, then get the parts and put it together yourself, you will find that it is of better quality then the stuff built into cases. Get full-cover waterblocks for the 8800s from Danger-Den or similar, in fact, get a Danger-Den TDX CPU block also if you go water cooling. The Striker II has the built in water capabilities for the chipset, so that is taken care of. You'll need to choose a pump, reservoir, cooling solution, tubing and fillport on your own, but look at http://www.frozencpu.com for some parts for this. Pre-assembled water cooling kits tend not to work as well as doing a custom job yourself, and if you are splurging the money for the best stuff, take the time to read up on water cooling and do the best job you can with it to get the most out of your system.


This is sounding really complicated! This will be my first system build, so I'm hesitant to work with custom cooling systems or mess around with case mods, etc.

Which is why the idea of a case with a built cooling system is really attractive. I guess the case and cooling system recommended in the System Builder's Marathon is becoming more and more attractive too. At least it has specific recommendations and instructions.
May 5, 2008 6:06:10 PM

First build?

Then don't do water cooling and downgrade everything else while you're at it. :pfff:  Rich people and there, "I want the best money can buy.", even though they don't know the difference.

Give me a break man. You can save over $1200 and still have a better system then 90% of the people hear. And you might learn something about overclocking.

Better yet, just buy an alienware prebuilt or something.
May 2, 2013 1:58:06 PM

If you want liquid cooling that's really easy to install without any maintanence then you might want to try a closed loop pre made liquid cooling solution they don't perform quite as we'll as the custom loops but they still do a lot better than air cooling and are super easy to install. Maybe try something like the Corsair H100i.

http://m.newegg.com/Product/index?itemNumber=N82E168351...
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